DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, MARCH 29, 1999
SUBJECT: THAAD TEST FLIGHT
LT GEN LESTER L. LYLES, DIRECTOR
BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE ORGANIZATION [BMDO]
LT GEN PAUL L. KERN, MILITARY DEPUTY,
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY RESEARCH,
DEVELOPMENT, AND ACQUISITION
CAPT DOUBLEDAY: Good afternoon. This is a single-subject briefing on the Theater High Altitude Area Defense Interceptor Flight Test that was conducted this morning at White Sands Missile Range. There are two briefers today. First, Lieutenant General Lester Lyles, who is the director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, Lieutenant General Paul Kern, who is the military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.
General Lyles is going to go first and then General Kern. General Kern has a short video clip that he is going to show. And following those two presentations, we will take some of your questions.
LT GEN LYLES: Good afternoon. Well, this morning at White Sands Missile Range, we attempted to conduct the ninth in a series of flight tests for the Theater High Altitude Area Defense System. This is a critical element of our theater missile defense architecture for the United States and for all of our coalition forces.
The primary objectives of today's tests were to demonstrate a body-to-body, high endo-atmospheric intercept of a unitary target; to demonstrate and characterize the seeker used in the THAAD program, the INSBY, Indium Antimonide Seeker; to demonstrate the THAAD system closed-loop operation of all of the various components involved in the THAAD program and this particular test; and to demonstrate the THAAD radar performance against this kind of unitary target.
The test today was conducted, as I stated, from White Sands Missile Range. During the tests, which started roughly at 7:13, Eastern Standard Time, we launched the HERA [ph.] target. We then, seven minutes later, launched the interceptor, the THAAD interceptor, from one of its launch tubes and its configuration. We did not achieve our primary objective of having a body-to-body intercept of the THAAD interceptor with the specific HERA target.
During this particular test, we got a nominal booster fly-out from the THAAD system. We had performance, good performance of some of the various systems or subsystems that have not worked very well on some of the previous intercept attempts for the THAAD program.
The flair, at the very beginning of the test, coming out of the tube, worked very, very well. The THAAD Energy Management Steering worked very, very well. The booster and kill vehicle had a nominal separation. We got nominal separation of the shroud around the kill vehicle. We had good command data of the in-flight target updates from the radar Battle Management Command and Control to the missile. They were providing target information and target map information to the missile.
Unfortunately, about one minute into flight, we lost the telemetry and because of loss of that telemetry, we are not able, to date, at this particular moment, to characterize and specifically determine the cause of why we managed to miss the particular intercept.
As I stated, we did not have a body-to-body intercept. However, from the radar data and from airborne sensors which are on-scene at White Sands Missile Range, we think we came between 10 and 30 meters from having an actual intercept. Unfortunately, again, because of not having the telemetry data, we are unable right now to specifically pinpoint better the closure rate of the two objects, and we are not able to tell you right now what may have caused the particular separation. We are still evaluating all of the available data.
The two story boards to my left and to my right sort of define specifically the configuration for the test today at White Sands Missile Range, shown on the left, with the HERAtarget, which was launched; the THAAD launch, itself; all of the Battle Management Command and Control; the launcher and the radar system of the THAAD system, which all worked extremely well together; and then the actual missile, you see from this photo here, you will see dramatically shown in the video shown by General Kern.
The configuration profile for the test itself is shown on my right, with the HERA target shown on the left part of that particular chart; the launcher and all of the other configurations that are part of it, shown on the right-hand side of the chart.
And rather than go into details about the chart configuration and profile, let me ask General Kern to come forward and talk you through the video, and then we'll both come forward and try to answer any questions you might have.
LT GEN KERN: Let me just take a second to put in my perspective that this is an extremely critical part of our Nation's missile defenses. And you know we have built a system of systems between all of the Services to work effectively together. Last week, we had the opportunity to watch a successful PAC-3 shot. This week we had the opportunity to watch a not-so-successful THAAD shot. Nevertheless, a significant improvement over those previous shots that we have seen.
We did put the new seeker, as General Lyles mentioned, on board, and we did get a good shot that was not available the last time. So while we are not where we would like to be, I am encouraged by the test today that we are much closer to achieving success than we have been for quite some time and, again, it is a critical part of that whole compendium of missile defense systems.
We have a battalion of soldiers that are trained, and ready and waiting for this. They have the ground systems, as demonstrated today, with the launcher, the radars and the battle management. And, finally, I am convinced that American industry can do this. They have the right technical pieces that they have put together, and I believe that the team that General Lyles, with the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, the Space and Missile Defense Command at Huntsville, and America's industry are very close to complete success in the entire system that we are putting together.
So I am encouraged, rather than discouraged, by today's shot, and I think that in the next few months you are going to see some real advances made in our ability to demonstrate to you that we can put the entire package together end-to-end.
I am going to go ahead and dim the lights here in a second. I just would tell you that we saw this film probably not more than about ten minutes ago. So you are getting to see it almost precisely the same time that we are. We did talk to the program manager as it was--he was on the phone at the airport going through it, and we'll give you a quick description of the shots as we see them.
The first thing you are going to see will be the HERA, which is a two-stage rocket built from Minuteman sections that we use as our test vehicle. As General Lyles mentioned, it was fired from the northern part of White Sands Missile Range, about 170 kilometers from the THAAD launch point. The entire test, in this case, takes place over White Sands Missile Range.
Go ahead and roll the movie, please.
I don't know if you all can see that or not. There is the HERA launch. It will fly to an apogee of about 314 kilometers and will be on the descent when it gets into the intercept phase.
The next piece you are going to see is the THAAD launch. It is firing off the THAAD launcher. There it goes. The first maneuver it does, that strange spinning maneuver, is the THAAD Energy Management Steering to burn off energy so it stays within the White Sands Missile Range. It is also used for a low-altitude intercept.
You are going to see some sparkling lights that will come up here. Hopefully, you will be able to see them in this light. What the sparkling lights are, are the controllers, the DACS (Divert and Attitude Control System), that are on the side of the missile that actually steer it towards the target. You are beginning to see that now. It did not freeze in space, I guarantee you that.
The bright spot that came in from the top is the HERA target missile. It's very difficult to see in here. There we go: the launch, the TEMS maneuver, and that's a quick replay.
We will have copies of this available for you at DDI afterwards. I can't tell you how soon afterwards. They are making copies of it now. It literally just came in just prior to our walking in here.
Are we going to try and run that back again? Yeah. The light in here, it is not terribly bright.
The predicted intercept that should have occurred would have been about 2 1/2 minutes after the THAAD launch. That did not occur, as General Lyles explained, and the THAAD missile self-destructed ten minutes past that intercept--ten seconds past that intercept point.
The initial results indicate that the, as I mentioned, and the bright spots, when you see that in a darkened room I think you'll be able to pick them out, that the Divert and Attitude Control System, the DACS, was performing. It appears that we had the seeker bringing it into that end game, but until we do the final analysis, and depending upon the quality of the data we are able to get back, it may take some time to go through that.
We will then plan our next shot for late May. Exactly when, as I say, will depend somewhat on the ability to reduce the data that we have now and get the next missile ready, and we are shooting --- If we are completely successful, we'd have two more successful shots by the end of June, and I will just tell you that's going to be a real challenge, given the schedule that we have right now.
I think that's all I've got. As I said, copies of that video will be available for you from DDI later.
LT GEN LYLES: At this point, we'll be happy to take any questions that any of you might have.
QUESTION: Can you walk through the financial penalties now that Lockheed incurs. Is it $15 million right off the top because they missed today and then $20 million by the end of June?
LT GEN LYLES: Yes. What the question is referring to is the contractor cure agreement, cure notice agreement that we initiated as a result of the last failed intercept we had in the THAAD program, and it does require that we get a body-to-body actual intercept on flight test nine; if not, there is a penalty of $15 million.
And I might add, we are not going to get a check from Lockheed Martin. That's not the way this works. Lockheed will just not bill the Government for $15 million worth of effort under this particular contract as a result of this particular milestone or lack of a milestone.
The next milestone for this cure notice is that we have two successful hits achieved by the 30th of June. The penalty for that is $20 million if we don't achieve that particular milestone, and then there's subsequent milestones associated with different time frames leading up until the end of this calendar year. The total potential penalty, is $75 million; again, not in terms of a check from the contractor, but in terms of lack of billing or that they do not bill the Government for that particular amount of dollars.
QUESTION: Does it look like they're going to have to pay the next $20-, given that two by the end of June 30th is unlikely?
LT GEN LYLES: I do not want to speculate on that. If we're able to find out and pinpoint exactly what the cause was for this particular anomaly and it's something that can be correctable very, very quickly, we're hoping to stay the line and try to conduct the next test by the end of June--excuse me, end of May. And if it's successful, there is a chance that we can get a second attempt off, and if that's successful, by the end of June, and not have to have that particular penalty come into play.
QUESTION: Are you happy with the way Lockheed improved overall between May and today in terms of management and quality?
LT GEN LYLES: Absolutely. Absolutely. They have done just yeomen's work in going back, bringing in the leadership, and bringing in stronger technical support from throughout the corporation and actually bringing in experts from other major corporations to help them to get their arms around the problem, redoing qual testing, redoing component testing, lots of pedigree work to find out the background of literally every nut and bolt in the THAAD system. I am extremely pleased with the performance of Lockheed management and the technical experts in this regard.
LT GEN KERN: I'd add one comment. The other missiles are available. It's not a question of having to build the missiles. It's a question of making sure that what is learned from each shot is then brought forward so that we don't make the same mistakes over again.
And I would echo, completely, General Lyles' comments that we've seen a real turnaround in Lockheed Martin's performance from both management and technical supervision of this program.
LT GEN LYLES: Yes?
QUESTION: Valid or not, there seems to be a linking on Capitol Hill between the performance of Theater Missile Defenses, particularly THAAD, and National Missile Defense. Does this particular test give you any pause with NMD or is there any connection in your mind at all?
LT GEN LYLES: None whatsoever. The physics, in some aspects, are similar, but we're talking different regimes, in many respects, and obviously different designs and different systems.
I think one of the cautions or concerns that people have had is about hit-to-kill lethality, the body-to-body impact lethality, methodology, and whether that will work. Well, we actually proved that two weeks ago with our PAC-3 test. PAC-3 is also a hit-to-kill missile, and that was absolutely a perfect test. We learned some things. We had some very, very minor anomalies of things that we learned, which we wanted to learn from that test, but we proved that hit-to-kill is viable and can work.
So, until we understand better about today's anomaly for THAAD, I would not even have one bit of hesitation relative to our plans and designs for National Missile Defense.
QUESTION: General Lyles, part of the concern with the first five tests was that, or the intercept attempts, was that you never got to the end game. Well, this time you got to the end game, and you didn't get an intercept. So to what extent do you know or do you not know whether the end-game design, which is kind of the heart of this, is just flop?
LT GEN LYLES: Let me just add a correction because I think we've all sort of cavalierly used that phrase, "we never got to the end game." If you look over the series of nine tests that we've had for THAAD, and particularly look at the now six anomalies or failures that we've had, we've had a couple that actually did get close to the end game. Now, it turns out we had seekers that didn't perform properly. One had some contamination, and we had one where we just ran out of fuel at the last few microseconds, if you will, and didn't get the kind of divert that we actually needed. So I am not quite sure if we can use that statement that we have been using that we never got into the end game.
Nevertheless, we know there have been a couple of failures that have precluded us from actually determining what happens those last critical seconds, last critical fractions of a second. We are hoping that we did manage to get some information on this particular flight. It's going to be very complicated by the fact that we don't have telemetry, at least right now, and so determining what did occur, how the seeker performed, the slew rate of the seekers, how the DACS performed, whether or not they were getting signals from the seeker, all of that is very, very critical to the final design. And we're not sure, as of this moment, whether or not we have telemetry information that will answer that question.
LT GEN KERN: I would be a little more pausive [?], too, in saying that the end game has been proven to be not achievable--not so at all. Clearly, we demonstrated it's achievable last, or two weeks ago with PAC-3, as General Lyles said, but also what we're building today is a series of algorithms that were done in simulation on the ground.
And what we have to demonstrate, and that's why it is so important to get the data back from the seeker and the missile flight test, is how they correlate to the algorithms that we're using. Those algorithms are adjusted for the conditions that we expect to see in space, and that's what's so important about that part that we've labeled that end game. So we're not there yet.
LT GEN LYLES: Yes?
QUESTION: Did this HERA target fly a much different course than the one used two weeks ago for PAC-3?
LT GEN LYLES: Yes, it was a completely different profile. Same basic missile, but in this case, a different profile, fired from a different part of the range. This was not fired from Fort Wingate, as was the previous one for PAC-3. So the profile was a lot, a lot different, much as you would expect for a medium-type threat of which the THAAD is intended to engage.
LT GEN KERN: I would also add that PAC-3 is getting ready to go into production, and we're quite a bit earlier in the phase of the testing with the THAAD system. So you wouldn't expect them to correlate identically.
LT GEN LYLES: Let me go up there, and then I'll come back over here. Yes?
QUESTION: General, as you are going to--I know it's only a few months into the new year here, but since you announced the shoot-off sort of competition between THAAD and Navy Upper Tier, but does this test have any impact, like, if you said, "Well, how are things going between the two programs now?" is one ahead, one behind? Can you look at it all?
LT GEN LYLES: Yes, let me qualify that. We're trying to avoid any terminology like "shoot off" or "real competition."
What we're trying to do is to allow, at least right now, allow both of the Upper-Tier programs to proceed through their early testing, series of tests that were planned, and try to determine, within a couple years, how each system is performing to see if one may have a lead ahead of the other in terms of performance, in terms of management, in terms of cost, et cetera, so that we might have an opportunity to reallocate dollars to that one program that's ahead, make that the lead Upper-Tier system that we try to bring into the inventory for the United States.
When you say "fly-off competition," it sounds like we're intending to kill the other program, and that's certainly not the intent at all. It's really to try to make sure that the United States can have an Upper-Tier system to protect our forces, our coalition forces, our war fighters and to try to have one of them, at least one of them, if not both, fielded as early as possible.
As far as this test is concerned, we still have a series of tests left for the THAAD program. We're still several months away before we even have the first Navy Upper-Tier tests. So, again, we're going to let both programs proceed with their test activities for the next couple of years or so and then determine which program is on the most successful track.
QUESTION: So you won't decide at the end of this year which one--is there a decision at the end of '99?
LT GEN LYLES: Not necessarily, because we will not have flown Navy Upper Tier at the end of this year. We will have perhaps one controlled vehicle flight of the Navy Upper Tier if everything stays on track, but not an intercept. The first intercept for Navy Upper Tier is about a year away.
LT GEN KERN: In the Army's perspective, Navy Upper Tier and THAAD are complementary. We don't want one or the other. We want both. And that is simple if you go figure out the mathematics of what it takes to protect troops from missile defenses. You want to get as many chances at shooting down an incoming missile as you possibly can. You don't want to put it all on the back of one system or another.
Secondly, the information that we learn from these tests, the Navy will benefit from in the technologies. The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization is a joint organization, and it's not exclusionary information.
LT GEN LYLES: Yes?
QUESTION: Why did you lose telemetry data, one; and, two, in terms of the $15 million payment, is that set in stone? I mean, if you get information back that it was a HERA, you know, there's something wrong--that it wasn't a missile part of the problem, could you then say that Lockheed doesn't have that $15 million penalty?
LT GEN LYLES: That's a good question. Let me answer the first question first. I wish I knew why we lost telemetry. We lost telemetry about a minute into flight. We've not had problems with telemetry on our previous flights and, to date, or at least right now, at this particular moment, I cannot tell you exactly what occurred, and we are trying to troubleshoot and find out exactly what could have been the cause and pinpoint exactly what happened here.
Your comment is right about the body-to-body intercept, which was the milestone for this particular cure notice agreement we have with Lockheed Martin. We are talking about missile performance. If it turns out we do have, whether it's human error or some problem with the target, then we certainly can't pinpoint or fault Lockheed Martin for that. We don't know that's the case right now and so our thought is that we just did not get body-to-body intercept, which is the milestone that they had to achieve.
And Lockheed Martin is very much aware of that. I've been talking to their senior leadership about that obviously throughout the day.
QUESTION: So you don't know yet--
LT GEN LYLES: We don't know yet. We think, all of the performance data we have for the target, we did have good telemetry on the target all the way through completely until impact or destruction. And the target performance was extremely nominal. So the bet is that the target performed very well.
QUESTION: Any second contractor or not? I mean, any--the debate about the second contractor coming into this, is there any--does this give any further impetus to that?
LT GEN LYLES: You mean in terms of some competition for the THAAD?
LT GEN LYLES: Right now we're staying the course relative to the prime contractor team for THAAD. This Upper-Tier strategy that we talked about earlier is the closest we come to looking at whether or not resources are applied more to one program or another. But the bottom line is we do need both systems.
QUESTION: General, can you please comment on how this new seeker design perhaps differs from the previously used, the previous design that you used.
LT GEN LYLES: It is a different material. We used platinum silicide as the material for the previous seeker. On the last flight test, flight test eight, we switched to the indium antimonide material. It's a little easier material to process and make than was the platinum sil. It has a little bit better performance characteristics.
And then there's some lessons learned from other systems. The indium antimonides, it's the same material used in the seekers for the Israeli Arrow program that we're helping them to develop and also used in the Navy Area defense program for their IR seeker component.
So there's experience we're gaining from all three programs by using that particular material.
QUESTION: This is the first time General Kern alluded to this. You used new algorithms; is that correct?
LT GEN KERN: No. Second time with this seeker. The first time didn't prove out to be very successful, if you remember. But the algorithms are something that are built into the system that you have to prove that work between the seeker, and the target, and the radar to match up all of the flight performance.
LT GEN LYLES: Yes?
QUESTION: It just seems to me that there are so many things that can go wrong, and every test something has gone wrong; like the telemetry went out. You would have to have a perfect system that responded perfectly for this to work institution end. Can you base the national defense on a system like that, where if it's not perfect, the enemy missile comes in? I mean, that's the biggest critical question.
LT GEN LYLES: I think General Kern stated it very accurately. We have great confidence in American industry to be able to do this particular job. And while it's complex, it's not the only complex thing we do for our national security needs. There are many other programs that have a lot of complex factors to them, maybe not these same factors, but there are a lot of things that are stacked upon other areas that have to work perfectly for most weapon systems to perform the way they are intended.
I think the industry has shown us that they can do this particular job in some various forms. We know the ground systems work very, very well. The radar systems work extremely well. We're having a little bit of trouble trying to get the missile to perform properly, but I have great confidence that we can do this and that our national security, whether from a theater standpoint or a National Missile Defense standpoint, can be supported by these kinds of technologies.
LT GEN KERN: One other thing, though. The telemetry is separate from the Battle Management Command and Control system. The telemetry is peculiar to the test part of the program, where you put it through the phases so that you can learn and make the next system better. When we go to issue this system to fight, that telemetry is not part of the system. It's part of the BMC3/I part that ties all of these pieces together, as well as what's on board the actual missile and seeker.
QUESTION: Can I just ask one follow-up? If you can't get perfection, why did you go away from a system where you just want to--why do you want to do hit-to-kill? Why can't you just, since you get so close to the missile, just do the fragmentation?
LT GEN LYLES: All of our analyses show us that for weapons of mass destruction you have a much better lethality with body-to-body kinetic impact than you do in taking a chance with a warhead. Taking a chance with a warhead can give you the kind of scenarios that we saw a couple of times, we think, during Desert Storm, where you may knock the warhead out of the way or break it up, but not destroy it to the point that you don't have some sort of damage on the ground.
And when you talk about weapons of mass destruction like chemical or biological agents on them, we want to ensure that we have body-to-body impact, with enough energy to completely destroy, disintegrate, kill anything that's there.
So from lethality methodology, that's the reason hit-to-kill is so important to us.
QUESTION: General Lyles, you have expressed, in the past, concern that, in effect, you may have some lemons on your hands here. These missiles were built several years ago. How many more of these older missiles do you have left and when's the earliest we could start seeing a new batch of THAAD missiles to start testing so we can, you know, there's only so much you can do to an older missile that may have been manufactured improperly.
LT GEN LYLES: I don't think I've used the word "lemon," so I'll make sure to get that clarified right away.
Yes, we are dealing currently with the test assets - - Missiles that were built at the beginning of the program, and we have demonstrated that there may be some quality concerns, but that's the area that the contractor has been focusing on, making sure we don't have any more of those, or we are comfortable with what we have for the current family of test vehicles.
We have about five of those vehicles left, five or six of them currently left. We actually are going to make some block upgrades, minor upgrades, to improve some of the quality in the design which will go into effect for the next couple of tests that we currently have. There are some minor things that are already being addressed in the next couple of test missiles.
So we're already starting to bring along or bring into the inventory some improvements on the original design, improvements on the original configuration that we've been testing for the last, now, nine series of tests.
QUESTION: After these five are shot, though, what then? Is that going to be determined by this review of the Upper-Tier programs?
LT GEN LYLES: If these five are successful or three of these five are successful, technically, we're supposed to proceed into EMD of the program, Engineering, Manufacturing and Development of the program, which is the next phase, and we will be building new missiles with a cleaned-up design -- Some of the things we've learned through the early part of the program for testing in that particular phase of the program.
The pace of that effort will be determined by this Upper-Tier strategy, but the basic strategy is to still proceed into EMD.
QUESTION: But if they're not successful, what's the likelihood that you could have some alternative THAAD program? Try it again, in other words.
LT GEN LYLES: We'd have to look at that very closely. We've been studying that and looking at alternative methodologies. I don't want to comment on them right now because I'm, again, very hopeful that things are going to be very successful. But we are looking at some back-up plans, just in case.
CAPT DOUBLEDAY: We've got time for two more.
QUESTION: General, at which point will you have enough information on the THAAD program versus the Upper Tier to make a decision as to which is the preferred option? 2000, 2001?
LT GEN LYLES: We always stated that we wanted to get through a series of tests for THAAD and for Navy Upper Tier. We said a decision point would be probably the fall of 00, Zero-Zero, the year 2000, when we would be best equipped to make such a decision. By that point, we should have data on both systems. So, roughly, that's the time frame that we stated.
We cut a couple of people out, so I guess we'll take a couple more questions, if you don't mind, Mike. One here and then--
QUESTION: General, if it turns out you don't have telemetry data from this, what will you rely on in order to kind of walk you through the test?
LT GEN LYLES: That's going to be very sporty. But it's amazing sometimes how much information the engineers and test people can get out of--
QUESTION: I'm sorry. You said it's going to be very what?
LT GEN LYLES: Sporty. It's amazing how much data people can get from what might seem like a limited amount of information. We have lots of radar data. We have lots of visual data. We have lots of infrared data from two different airborne platforms which are flying to observe the test, and we have some indication of something, some kind of data stream that was still coming down, but right now it's not decipherable. And we're going to have to look at that to see if that might be actual data that somehow was not modulated properly or what have you.
So we're going to be working with everything we can find, literally, to try to get as much information as we can about this particular test.
QUESTION: Do you happen to know, and maybe General Kern can answer this, how long the analysis may take or that's all subject to what you have to look at?
LT GEN KERN: It's very much subject to what they actually get down when they go recover all of the components. They do a forensic analysis to look at that. We'll see what we can learn from that. As General Lyles mentioned, there are a number of other data streams. That can take weeks to go through all of that. And part of it, on this garbled stream, will depend upon what it really takes to ungarble it. It's a lot of deciphering of that information that is available.
So it can be anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks to really get through it all.
QUESTION: But you're much more comfortable with the telemetry, if you had not--excuse me--telemetry--
LT GEN LYLES: Oh, yes, definitely.
LT GEN KERN: Absolutely.
LT GEN LYLES: Definitely. Anne?
QUESTION: General, could you give us some impressions of how the whole system is working together? You've said in the past all of the different pieces have been working fast. How does it work as a system? How does it fit into your overall architecture? And when might you be connecting up to other pieces of your architecture?
LT GEN LYLES: For the THAAD system itself, as I mentioned, one of the objectives in this test was to demonstrate the end-to-end, closed-loop operation of all of the various components.
For this particular test, for the first time, we had the UOES radar, as we call it, the User Operational Evaluation System radar, the early radars for the THAAD program, on-line, performing all of the different missions or parts of the mission it's supposed to accomplish.
We had the Battle Management Command and Control, we had the Tactical Operations Center all working properly. The launcher all worked properly. Everything seemed to work very, very well, with the exception, obviously, of what happened relative to the closing end game for the missile. So, from that standpoint, we're closer to having end-to-end, closed-loop operation of the THAAD system, which is exactly what we want.
How it fits into the total architecture. As General Kern alluded to, our architecture depends on, for the most effective capability for missile defense, multi-tier, multi-platform. We want to have as many engagement opportunities as we possibly can, and we certainly want to be able to counter the entire range of threat.
And THAAD, the Upper-Tier systems, THAAD and Navy Upper Tier, are specifically designed to counter the medium-range threats; those that operate above a thousand kilometers, 1,300 kilometers and above, which are the kinds of threats we are seeing being proliferated today.
SHAHAB development--the SHAHAB development by Iran, the North Korean No-Dong, the GAURI tested by the Pakistanis, those are the kinds of threats we have to encounter with the Upper-Tier systems, and so we need to have the entire architecture all working well together to give us the most effective missile defense system.
QUESTION: Sir, just to follow, would you be connecting, in further tests, to, say, Patriot units or something else to test out how your interoperabilities--
LT GEN LYLES: Yes. We do have interoperability tests planned downstream in the program, and that involves both missile tests, and we've actually already been conducting some limited tests, where we have different parts of the architecture working well together. We want to use, eventually, something like the THAAD radar and use it to cue a Patriot system or use the THAAD radar to cue a spy radar on a Navy Aegis ship. Those kinds of tests, interoperability tests, are planned for the program within the next couple of years, and it's the major part of the activity because interoperability is a major part of missile defense effectiveness, from our standpoint.
CAPT DOUBLEDAY: Okay. Thank you very much.
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